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Cinder Cone, Lassen National Park CA

• 4-star hike
• 3.0 to 4.9 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 1,120 feet | Peak 6,820 feet
• Lassen National Park | California
• Driving directions: Trailhead | Feather Lake Rd

(First driving directions link will not work when winter conditions close the road, so use second link and add 7 miles of dirt road.)

Looking into the Lassen Cinder Cone.

Cinder cones are scattered all around you at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Some are in plain sight and others are overgrown and hidden by forest, but none are more recent and more spectacular than the Cinder Cone that created the Fantastic Lava Beds and the colorful Painted Dunes eleven miles north east of Lassen Peak.

Sometime around the middle of the seventeenth century a volcanic vent in this area began to expel small chunks of lava, which cooled in mid-air and fell back to earth to collect into a cone some 700 feet in height. Activity finally ceased when larger amounts of lava flowed up to the surface and eventually blocked the vent.

The hike from Butte Lake campground takes a route along the side of the lava beds and through a thin forest of evergreens before ascending the cinder cone. Although the route up the north face of the cone is well used, the ground underfoot is still loose, feeling much like walking along a mile of sandy beach .. at a thirty degree angle. From the summit you should take the time marvel at the Fantastic Lava Beds and Painted Dunes below you and the great mountain views of Lassen, Brokeoff and Chaos Crags.

Butte Lake Trailhead.

Though only eleven miles from Lassen Peak, driving to the trailhead of this hike requires a 40 mile drive or 32 miles from the north park entrance and includes 7 miles of dirt road driving. Despite the distance the scenery en route is well worth experiencing, and the unpaved road is entirely accessible even in a two-wheel drive car with relatively low ground clearance. The exit off Feather Lake Road (CA-44) and onto the unpaved Butte Lake Road (NF32N21) is located here. Note that driving directions using Google Maps will not work when the road is closed in winter.

Snow covers the Lassen landscape for much of the year and some roads and trails may not be open - even in summer. Check the links below to find updated information on road closures, trail closures and campground status.

Hiking the Cinder Cone caldera, with a distant Lassen Peak.

Sidebar, Fullscreen Map.

Part Loop (4.9mi & 1,120ft) - AllTrails | Directions
Shortest Out & Back (3.0mi & 730ft)

• Trail Links: Official | AllTrails Public
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

More California Hikes:
• Best Hikes of Lassen Volcanic National Park
• Best Hikes of Lake Tahoe
• Best Hikes of Yosemite National Park
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